North Korea announced on Tuesday that it successfully launched a military surveillance satellite into orbit, despite UN resolutions prohibiting the country from using ballistic missile technology. The launch was strongly condemned by both Tokyo and Washington.
According to the official North Korean news agency KCNA, the rocket followed the planned trajectory and placed the satellite, named Malligyong-1, into orbit. The South Korean military had previously detected a suspected military surveillance satellite at 8:43 a.m. EST.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated, “Even if they call it a satellite, launching an object that uses ballistic missile technology is clearly a violation of UN resolutions.” He condemned the operation firmly. The spokesperson for the White House National Security Council also reacted, calling the launch “a blatant violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions, increasing tensions and risking destabilization in the region and beyond.” Adrienne Watson added, “The door to diplomacy is not closed, but Pyongyang must immediately cease its provocative actions.”
North Korea had previously informed Japan of its intention to potentially launch a satellite as early as Wednesday, marking its third attempt after two failed attempts to put a military satellite into orbit in May and August last year.
Experts believe that this latest launch, conducted just hours before the notified time window, showcases Pyongyang’s confidence in its success and its intention to maximize the element of surprise. Seoul had been warning for weeks that Pyongyang was in the “final stages” of preparing a new launch. Possible countermeasures from Seoul are expected.